Sutherland saw an etching by Samuel Palmer when he was studying printmaking in the early 1920s. He later recalled 'I was amazed at its completeness... [It was] quite new to us that the complex variety of the multiplicity of lines could form a tone of such luminosity. It seemed to me wonderful that a strong emotion, such as was Palmer's, could change and transform the appearance of things.' Like Palmer and 'The Ancients', Sutherland was looking back to a purer, earlier age of art. His religious intensity is highlighted by the cross put after the date in the top right hand corner.
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